Each year Mental Health Association determines its legislative and advocacy priorities. These priorities are presented to legislators, policy makers and the general public at Mental Health Association's annual legislative briefing. The Government Affairs Committee of Mental Health Association's Board of Directors tracks legislation pertinent to these priorities and other important mental health related issues throughout the year. During the state legislative session, the Committee develops and disseminates legislative alerts on these issues to a legislative network of interested legislators, policy makers, advocates, professionals, consumers and the general public. In addition, Mental Health Association also coordinates advocacy efforts such as letter writing campaigns and rallies to support its priority issues.
Legislative Priorities for 2013
Access to the Public Mental Health System
- STATE: Hold the line on funding cuts to the Public Mental Health System to ensure access to appropriate mental health services for all consumers.
- Encourage state legislature to designate portion of the Alcohol Tax revenue for mental health initiatives
- Support integration of behavior health and addiction services.
- COUNTY: Maintain current mental health funding and ensure support for community safety net programs and services for mental health consumers and providers.
Affordable Alternative Housing Options for People with Mental Illness
- STATE: Maintain affordable, suitable housing options and improve accessibility for individuals with mental illness, particularly those who are homeless.
- COUNTY: Include men, women, and families with mental illness and disabilities in all affordable housing initiatives and ensure adequate shelter and comprehensive supportive services.
Mental Health and Juvenile Justice
- STATE: Monitor reforms and maintain funding for mental health, education, and rehabilitative treatment for all youth in the juvenile justice system.
- COUNTY: Fund prevention and intervention services for at risk and adjudicated youth with a focus on positive strength based strategies and ensure access to all available services.
School-Based and Community-Based Mental Health Services for Children, Youth, and Families
- STATE: Maintain the state budget initiatives that fund school-based mental health, violence prevention, and early childhood mental health services.
- COUNTY: Maintain current level funding for school-based and community-based children’s mental health services for prevention, early intervention, and treatment with an emphasis on early childhood and school age services including Linkages to Learning.
Ensuring Access to Mental Health Services for Service Members, National Guard & Reserve, Veterans, & their Families
- STATE: Ensure coordination of behavioral health and social services among existing military serving organizations, public sector services and nonprofit organizations.
- COUNTY: Ensure coordination of services for veterans, service members and their families and education and training for service providers on unique needs of the military.
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